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Gonzaga and UNC will play in Spokane when the students are gone

Here is some dumb news.

NCAA Basketball: St. Mary’s at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The North Carolina Tar Heels are coming to Spokane for one of the biggest games at McCarthy Athletic Center on Dec. 18. We all knew this news was coming, and we should all be excited.

Instead, let’s take a quick gander at the Gonzaga 2019-2020 academic calendar and uh oh wait a second: the holiday break begins on Dec. 16. So yes, once again, for one of the biggest games of the home schedule, the students are going to be gone.

Now, before we get too angry here, it is important to note that scheduling is a hard beast. It is more than just two teams trying to figure out a date. Both Gonzaga and UNC have a lot of other balls in the air when it comes to finalizing the date.

That said, c’mon. Really. This is reminiscent of the WCC’s insistence of scheduling the Saint Mary’s/Gonzaga Spokane game over Winter Break as well. The University of North Carolina is one of the, if not the most, storied basketball programs in history. This game represents one of the biggest opponents to ever step foot in Spokane, on par with Michigan State in 2012.

And yet, the environment that is often cited as one of the best in college basketball will be directly devoid of what it makes it so hard for visiting teams to win: the students. Now, granted, this really only applies to students living on campus housing. There will probably still be plenty of students living in off campus housing ready to party. It isn’t like the game will be played in front of the largest selection of donors ever assembled under one roof.

But this is a huge miss, and although understandable because of the complexity of scheduling, something that still needs to get a few thumbs down. The holiday break begins on Dec. 16. The dorms close for the holiday break. If you are an underclassmen, or a junior/senior living on campus, to attend the game you would most likely have to arrange a couch surfing gig for four days, all the while, not relying on the cafeteria, which is also closed during the holiday break.

At the end of the day, the game is still going to be a rocking time. Unfortunately, a large swath of the student population will be shut out of the game, and that is dumb. Let’s just call this whole situation how it is: needlessly dumb.